by Margaux Salcedo
Faith is the certainty that Jesus is with us.
The certainty that Jesus has risen from the dead. The certainty that God is triumphant over sin and death.
It is not a belief. It is not a hypothesis. It is not a possibility. It is a fact.
It is a fact proven not through scientific evidence but through an encounter with God in Jesus Christ and in the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The encounter is an experience so gripping that belief transcends to certainty.
But we cannot produce faith on our own.
Faith is God’s gift.
Faith comes when God offers us the opportunity to encounter Him in his word, His sacraments, His service; to have a relationship where we can experience His unconditional love.
But the offer requires a response.
We must respond by abandoning ourselves to the Lord.
Then we must continually strive to hear Him.
Once we abandon ourselves and accept the gift of faith, Cardinal Tagle explained in a talk in Vancouver (Queen Elizabeth Theater, March 2018), “this is nurtured and mediated to us by the Word of God. Then, hopefully, through our constancy in listening to the Word of God - celebrating his presence in the sacraments, participating in God’s love for humanity - the faith is internalized, and the relationship with God is internalized.”
This is what you call being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Once filled with the Holy Spirit, professing our faith will no longer just be something celebrated sporadically.
Blessed with the gift of Faith, the Holy Spirit will direct our actions: our speech, the way we treat people, our appreciation of events, our relationships. Whether in church, at work, at home or in school, we will see others through the eyes of faith.
Our perspective of the world will change as our horizon becomes that of Faith. We will see the presence of God not only in the sacraments but in every person, in every living being, everywhere.
A youth participant at the World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, Poland asked Cardinal Tagle after his talk, “How do I know that God loves me?” His Eminence succinctly explained that you will only know through faith:
Realizing that God knows me or that God knows your struggles is a matter of faith. We cannot prove that. We can only have what St. John’s Gospel calls signs. Signs that must be interpreted with the eyes of faith. Without faith they don’t mean anything.
But Jesus continues to speak to us. He is alive. When you read His words and when you read the events in His life, you will discover that those events are still happening in your life; that your life experiences are not distant from Jesus’ own experience.
So rely on the Word of God. He understands.
According to Hebrews, he is our compassionate brother who has been tested in every way that we are tested. He knows our sin. And he can pray for us because he knows our struggles.
Even when we experience difficulties in life, our perspectives will change when we see through the eyes of faith, when we see through what Cardinal Tagle calls “faith vision”.
In his talk at the Queen Elizabeth Theater in Vancouver (March 2018), His Eminence explains this by distinguishing between a problem and a dilemma:
Many times we look at difficulties in life as problems. Because we see them as problems, our approach is to find a solution. But try to examine daily life, especially family life. Most of them are not problems but dilemmas.
What is a dilemma? A dilemma is a problem that does not go away. ...
How do you deal with dilemmas? You don't propose solutions. You tell stories.
Stories of people, of families who have gone through those difficulties but have survived gracefully. Though scarred they remain strong.
You wonder - why do they remain strong? Why do they continue persevere?
And you discover there is a story of faith woven into the lives of those families.
It is the faith that gives them a sense of meaning. It is the faith that makes them see in a difficult person, in a difficult relationship, still, the presence of God.
Without faith, how do you look at sickness? Without faith, how do you look at the death of a mother a few hours before the graduation of a daughter?
We need those stories as the world focuses on the problems that do not have solutions. As the world focuses on the stories of gloom, faith enables us to see another type of story: the stories of valor, the stories of perseverance and strength, which are not a product of human effort alone.
These stories need to be told. Stories of faith, of meaning, of love.
When your child starts appearing like a dilemma, remember stories.
Stories nurtured by faith.
That is why, Cardinal Tagle emphasizes, we should beg the Lord to give us the gift of Faith.
On our own, we can only handle problems.
With the gift of faith, we are able to get through any dilemma.
When we see through the eyes of faith, we can handle even problems without solutions!!